Quality of web-based information on inflammatory bowel diseases
Article first published online: 21 MAY 2009
Copyright © 2009 Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America, Inc.
Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
Volume 15, Issue 12, pages 1891–1896, December 2009
How to Cite
van der Marel, S., Duijvestein, M., Hardwick, J. C., van den Brink, G. R., Veenendaal, R., Hommes, D. W. and Fidder, H. H. (2009), Quality of web-based information on inflammatory bowel diseases. Inflamm Bowel Dis, 15: 1891–1896. doi: 10.1002/ibd.20976
- Issue published online: 4 NOV 2009
- Article first published online: 21 MAY 2009
- Manuscript Accepted: 25 MAR 2009
- Manuscript Received: 6 MAR 2009
- Dutch Crohn & Colitis Foundation (DCCF). Grant Number: DCCF 0831 (www.dccfoundation.nl)
- inflammatory bowel disease;
- Crohn's disease;
- ulcerative colitis;
- health information;
The Internet is the largest source of health information and is widely used by inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients. As information is largely unregulated, our objective was to evaluate the quality, readability, accuracy, and accessibility of the information concerning IBD available on the World Wide Web.
The phrases “inflammatory bowel disease,” “Crohn's disease,” and “Ulcerative Colitis” were entered separately as search terms into the 6 most commonly used search engines. Sites were categorized as institutional, pharmaceutical, nonpharmaceutical commercial sites, charitable, support, or alternative medicine. Websites were evaluated for content quality using the validated DISCERN rating instrument. Readability was graded by the Flesch Reading Ease and the Flesch–Kincaid Grade Level score.
Of the 76 websites evaluated by DISCERN, 43% of the sites were rated as excellent to good and 57% as fair to poor. Alternative medicine sites scored significant lower (P > 0.05) than institutional, pharmaceutical, and nonpharmaceutical commercial sites. There was no relation between a rating score and the position of a website on the search engine ranking. The median Flesch Reading Ease Score was 41.65 (range, 2.6–77.7) and 11.85 (range, 6.2–21.1) for the Flesch–Kincaid Grade Level.
The quality of websites containing information on IBD varies widely. Most of the online material available is too difficult to comprehend for a substantial portion of the patient population, and good quality information may be beyond reach of the average information seeker. Inflamm Bowel Dis 2009